8 Best Books to Read During Quarantine
Did the coronavirus pandemic get on your nerves too? Do you feel frustrated after being cooped up at home for so long? Are you still in quarantine? Or have you passed that test and are now looking forward to freshening things up with a good book?
Whether you're an avid reader or someone who just wishes that they could enter a portal and escape reality for a while, this list is for you. Here, we've gathered ten such portals for you to dive into for a sublime reading experience that will take you to another dimension out of which you would not want to get out for a while. Many writers, as well as readers, have taken the opportunity of solace to satisfy their love for reading with books in this pandemic. But does any reader ever stop adding books to their to-read lists? The recommendations from our reader friends are never-ending.
However, except for those reading lists, all things come to an end. So does a good book, and so will the quarantine. That is why we have compiled a list of books to read during quarantine that helped us along with a lot of other readers around the globe in releasing the stress.
1. Untamed - Glennon Doyle
Glennon Doyle's third memoir is not the same as her first two. The New York Times bestseller, Untamed, is about a woman who breaks the constraints of society to transform herself into a brand new, brave, and empowered woman who isn't afraid of coming out as queer.
She describes, in strong words, how she embraced her original self that had drowned deep inside of her under the burden of expectations from other people – the expectations that she was tired of fulfilling. She lets go of those burdens and embraces her instincts, womanhood, her desires, and everything else that makes her a strong creature.
Being a queer, in her view of society as a patriarchy, has taken a toll on her emotional stability. She does not shy away from her vulnerabilities and openly expresses them, coupling them with snazzy one-liners that don’t feel far from home around those kinds of anecdotes. She describes her journey in conquering those emotions, embracing her desires, forgiving herself, and allowing her to pursue those desires.
One of those desires is a woman she falls in love with. Her journey from married with three children to a person who is free from roles that hold her back from thriving is invigorating. It proves to be a great spark of motivation for people who have been trying to unlock their own restraints.
The contrasts portrayed in the book are her honest feelings which make the book so spicy. What’s interesting is that she doesn’t just claim that she’s found the courage to be herself. She proves to be brave in her writing by leaving some knots untied on purpose and allowing herself to move on from them.
2. Chosen Ones - Veronica Roth
Roth's debut novel "Divergent" and its sequels put her on the map as a brilliant science fiction writer of the young adult fiction world and led her to become a New York Times bestselling author. She has maintained her reputation in Chosen Ones and has put together a dystopia that will engulf you into the book for a while and keep you craving for a sequel. Although all her books are worth reading
Chosen Ones is the story of five twenty-year-old-or-more young adults with a glorious past. They were heroes who once saved the world, but all of their glory is now a tale of history. After their coming of age and growing out of their teenage celebrity phase, they're all lost. Now that they're grownups with real issues to contest to, they're trying to answer deep questions about life itself.
Amidst the emotional journeys, they have to face more troubles than they're prepared for. The death of a loved one and another face-off with their archnemesis. The heroes will have to juggle all of their troubles and deal with them to the best of their capabilities.
Roth employs an unconventional take on the overused archetype of the chosen hero and stories of prophecies in a world that does not go back to being an ideally happy place after the heroes have saved it. At the end of the day, the heroes are humans with limitations and emotions with which they have to fight, sometimes harder than their foes.
Chosen Ones gives the readers an immersive experience into more than just a singular world. It is a beautifully imperfect universe to escape to in any case. The characters are loveable, the worldbuilding is detailed, and the whole novel is an enjoyable read.
3. Wow, No Thank You: Essays - Samantha Irby
If you're not ready for an overtly emotional rollercoaster of a story and just need to have some fun reading without abandoning the substance and meaning of content, then Wow, No Thank You is the book for you.
It is a collection of essays and everyday stories that everyone can relate to. It is like laughter therapy. She uses grotesque descriptions and raunchy humor to describe all the little experiences of daily life that we overthink about in the background but never really talk about.
She is the author of a blog, and the flow and tone of her content is carried over to her book, but only in a good way. Irby will make you laugh out loud over your own insecurities and incapacities. Such is the nature of this book and the author's intention. She has that skill of making fun of herself without trying to deflect her issues. She acknowledges those insecurities and has become so familiar with them that she can joke about them and make the readers laugh in the process.
Irby does not shy away from using foul language and dirty analogies. Her descriptions can even get a little graphic in the mind of the reader. You might find yourself laughing hard over the excessive information about awkward situations. She has a way of putting hilariously weird images inside the reader's mind. That extra information might seem unsolicited to some but proved to be our guilty pleasure for making the rest of us laugh our heads off.
The author writes her personal experiences as stories from an unashamed perspective and describes her candid thoughts with a light note and a dark undertone.
She accepts that her life is not so interesting to write an inspiring memoir out of it. But we believe that she's written a greatly inspiring book. Books that can make people laugh and have fun are not very common. The market is saturated with emotional trauma, romance, heroes, and other stories of the sort. Some of us just need to have a good laugh after having experienced all the emotional heaviness of the quarantine.
If you're one of those people who want to have fun and laugh at the peculiarities of regular life, pick up Roth to clear out the foggy feelings of frustration from the corner of the mind.
4. The Splendid and the Vile - Erik Larson
If you're an avid reader, you know Larson is no joke when it comes to prose. His writing is intelligent, his flow is captivating, and he can keep you in that zone long after you've put down his book. There have been more non-fiction books to read on the second world war in the history of journalism than we can count. We all know from the history class how the war ends. The plot never changes. The data is clear.
Then why is it that readers of the Splendid and the Vile are so magnetically pulled towards the next page and don't find it easy to put the book down?
Of course, the Splendid and the Vile is in accordance with history. It's a non-fiction book - an account of Winston Churchill's ordeal. And there isn't a shortage of memoirs and biographies on this personality either.
But the way Larson links it all together is witty, brilliant, and riveting. If we had to teach a writer how to write a memoir that's not boring, we'd recommend them to read this book. The Splendid and the Vile is a great novel. It's a non-fiction novel that reads like fiction.
Larson keeps the tension alive in the way he follows the story, and in turn, manages to create a non-fiction book that reads like an electrifying novel. The author has written 6 New York Times bestsellers and has the potential to write many more books of that level. It is an amazing read for readers who want to remind themselves that life might not be as bad as we think it is, even after the whole quarantine predicament.
5. Days of Distraction - Alexandra Chang
Days of Distraction is the debut novel of Chang telling a story of a twenty-four-year-old Chinese American woman who is the only woman of color in her team. The protagonist is in a relationship with a White American man who has to move to a different place to pursue his doctoral studies.
The protagonist is faced with a dilemma. She is not sure if she should follow her boyfriend to wherever he may happen to land in the pursuit of his doctorate degree. That decision opens the doors of endless inner thoughts and conflicts, which lead her to question the complex troubles of postmodern society.
She does not tread lightly on any of the concepts she is forced to contend with, whether it be misogyny, racism, discrimination at the workplace, systematic oppression, xenophobia, or toxic behaviors. But at the same time, she does not lean towards factions or groups either. Her world is not one of black or white. It's all grey in her eyes as she tries to uncover the truth of what's right and what should be. It's not the same bland narrative of a millennial that we continue to see everywhere every day. Days of Distraction does not read anything like a conventional book. It is a "disorderly, unstructured" collection of fragments and snippets of articles, threads, posts, and such from various online media. It is a "winning novel" as described by the New York Times.
The cohesion lies in a singular thread that links it all together and brings the whole narrative back to its source every time: Alexandra - the protagonist. She has accomplished it so gracefully that it has landed on our list of great books to read during quarantine when you're longing for connection after all the social distancing. The irony of it. The protagonist feels lost in her world, but the author manages to make the readers fall in love with the very character. In fact, you're going to love all the characters for their essence, which is one more reason why this book lies in this list.
6. The Memory Police - Yoko Ogawa
The Memory Police is like nothing you've ever read. There isn't a better way to go into a different dimension from which there is no escape. It's a peculiar fable. There is an eery feel to the whole book. It is the only book ever written on the idea.
The author has done justice to the uniqueness of this concept. The story is about an unnamed island where things tend to disappear, and people forget them forever. In a world like that, there is someone who wants to hold onto the objects they've lost. Even if they have forgotten what it was, what their purpose was, and how it made them feel, they want to preserve them at all costs.
Insert in that concept a mysterious force of authority that polices people's memories of the lost objects. That is the mandate of this page turner. The author is remarkable in hiding the answers to all the puzzles and questions of the readers. She makes them wander in that universe and feel such abnormal emotions that are so obviously fictional but feel so real at the same time. That is due to the magical use of her words.
The book emanates strange tranquility through its own perplexity. In times like these, The Memory Police can help you remember all the things that were once part of the normal routine but were never appreciated by any of us. In a sense, it reminds us why the tiny experiences of everyday life are worth cherishing.
7. Here for It: Or, How to Save your Soul in America; Essays - R. Eric Thomas
Thomas is a queer African American man from the internet. That is something you're going to learn inside this memoir that we're talking about. Here for It is a memoir of Thomas - a person who never fit in. He tries to make sense of all the different shades of darkness in his world. And amidst that darkness, he seeks to find a light that had the potential of exclaiming to himself that it was all worth it. He does not just write to himself. He speaks to all the individuals who feel disenfranchised in society.
Here for It is entertaining nevertheless. The author takes a lighter tone to share the troubles that he has had to face in his life, and his humor is delightful and filled to the brim with pop culture references. But he has the sense to know which topics can not be joked about. When the gravity kicks in, people reading the book can feel the tone getting serious.
He also discusses the politics of his country and how people like him perceive the recent changes in the political ethos of his country. People who have to work so hard to fit in, fight against, stand for, and live in their world. Writers like him who can express those feelings out loud help other people feel acknowledged and less lonely. But very few of those writers also help the readers find their home with each other, save their true selves, and take a step towards long-sought freedom.
8. Dear Girls - Ali Wong
Another great read from our list of books that can take your mind off of the stress of quarantine is Dear Girls by Ali Wong. After all the stress and frustration, we could all use a good laugh. This author is also a comedian, which gives her an edge in the competition in comedy. Her witty humor is reflected in writing as she jokes about her traumas casually. The book may be comedic in tone but she has had her fair share of misfortunes. Regardless of that, she stays pragmatically optimistic and has learned to overcome the limitations with voluntary actions to take charge of her life.
The author makes a great case for women empowerment with voluntary responsibility, and the book reads nothing like a lecture on life. It is a short story collection of funny anecdotes about her love life, family, pregnancy, and her efforts to push through the struggle.
If you're not a big fan of profanity, this is one of those books that might be uncomfortable to get through. But there's more wit and honesty in the use of her grotesque tropes than is detectable from the first look. You have to read it to understand why her audiences love her so much.
Dear Girls is another book that takes that route but is unique at the same time. Her journey to get out of her comfort zone to make decisions that make her grow as a person. She inspires other women through her journey in a male-dominated profession with tenacity and courage. The humor may tone down the gravity of the issues for some, but in reality, it only makes it digestible. Not everyone has the courage to take on the system. It's not something to take lightly, but her candor at least makes it easy to talk about.
There are so many more recommendations of books that we want to share - books that everyone should read. But recommendations like King Lear, a book written during a pandemic, wouldn't work well in accordance with the topic of this article. So, the books in this reading list are tools that have helped other readers get through the quarantine and have a reason to smile in these testing times. How many tools do we have for finding peace in solitude other than the company of a good book? The only correct answer is more books.